Hello dear friends! Hope you all are staying warm. How quickly the weather changes! Last week we attended an auction and it was too warm for a sweater, this week we spotted the first snowflakes. I wish we had more of the sunny 50 degree weather, but as they say, "If wishes were horses, all men would ride.". Thanks to our woodpile, we haven't had to use the furnace yet. I think a well-stacked woodpile is a thing of beauty.
Although we have newer windows, our house being so old and crooked, has a lot of drafts. We use that plastic weatherproofing over the windows in our unheated mud room and on the upstairs windows. We also use bubble wrap as added insulation on the north side facing windows in the upstairs. These windows face the neighbor's house ( in these old neighborhoods the houses are very close together), so we don't care about obstructing the view. Just put the bubble wrap up on the windows, the static makes them cling, then we put the plastic weather proofing over that. We've already noticed that the rooms are staying warmer. BTW, we always buy these weatherproofing kits from the Goodwill store and from estate sales. They only cost a couple of dollars there and are well worth it. Last year our highest heating bill was around $100. I wrote this post almost four years ago on tips for staying warm and cozy, it's become one of my most popular posts.
Auctions And Estate Sales
This past week we attended two auctions and three estate sales. We won the bid for this washstand:
Estate sales are wonderful places to get tools and household items. This past year we've bought boxes of paintbrushes, sandpaper, drill bits, light bulbs, paint stripper, paint, yarn, cloth, etc. for just a few dollars. The prices on antiques seem to be on the high side, but if you go at the end of the last day, you can usually make a deal for 50% off the price. Sometimes they have the last day as a half-price day. Two places to find auctions and estate sales in your area are auctionzip.com and estatesales.net. I wish I had known about auctions and estate sales when we were young and setting up house. The cheap furniture that we bought (it was all we could afford) fell apart within a year.
Ran bought me this beautiful Westmoreland milk glass swan compote at one of the estate sales.
People always joke about eating beans and rice, but in truth they are two of the cheapest foods you can buy, especially if you buy them in bulk. And they are filling. Today we had bean burritos.
On to the refried beans: Once the beans have been cooked, mash them with a fork. Add a clove of minced garlic, the juice of half a lime, salt and pepper to your liking, and about 1/4 C. salsa. Heat through.
To make the burritos, spread some beans and rice on a tortilla. Spread some salsa in a 8 X 10 inch pan. Roll the tortillas up and place in the pan. Pour a can of enchilada sauce over and top with a handful of cheese. Or leave off the cheese to make this vegan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the burritos are heated through.
To tell the truth, this is just as good as just the beans on top of the rice with a bit of cheese sprinkled atop. I don't think that the tortillas add much to the flavor. So to be extra thrifty, skip them. I just happened to have some that I bought on the reduced for quick sale aisle.
For more tips on cooking with beans, I wrote this post.
We're still working our way through our bushels of apples. This applesauce cake is wonderful on a chilly evening with a cup of tea or better yet, a mug of cocoa. (This is the recipe from the book, The Homecoming, cut down to practical proportions and I added the raisins)
1/2 C, butter
1/ 2 C. sugar
1 C. applesauce
1/2 C. chopped nuts
1/2 C. raisins
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 3/4 C. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
Cream butter until soft. Add sugar a little at a time until the mixture is smooth.
Beat in the egg.
Alternately stir in dry ingredients and applesauce. Beat until well-blended.
Add nuts and raisins.
Pour into a well greased loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Frost with a thick white frosting.
Thrifty Things We Did This Week
Refinished an auction find with refinisher purchased at an estate sale.
Traded our labor for a quart of honey.
Used our Subway card for a free sub.
Got rid of our cell phone and went with a "pay-as-you-go" phone.
Bought a grocery bag full of clothes and woolens for crafts from a church rummage sale.
Used our wood stove to heat our house.
Got more free pallets for firewood.
Watched free TV on Hulu.
Picked a bushel of pears (the last harvest of the year).
That's it for this week. Hope you have a lovely week ahead. Stay warm!